California

Woman killed by son in apparent self-defense

December 10, 1986
Encino, California
Actress Susan Cabot is killed by her 22-year-old son Timothy Roman, apparently after Cabot failed to recognize her son and attacked him

Cabot had been a film and television actress, predominantly during the 1950s, appearing in Westerns and B-movies such as The Wasp Woman (pictured) and The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent.

According to testimony by Roman and one of Cabot’s friends, Cabot had been struggling with mental and physical deterioration in the weeks leading to her death. The friend also testified Cabot had been depressed and suicidal, though she mentioned she continued on to look after her son.


Susan Cabot

On the night of December 10, 1986, Cabot became confused and failed to recognize her son. She screamed at him and called out to her mother, grabbing a nearly scalpel she kept to trim her houseplants as well as a dumbbell bar. She attacked Roman who claimed to have grabbed the bar before striking his mother with it in self-defense. Roman also testified he did not remember hitting his mother, so he could not recount how many times he struck her.

After Cabot was dead, Roman hid the scalpel, weight bar, and a knife before calling police. He initially claimed a robber dressed like a “ninja warrior” had knocked him unconscious, and he discovered his mother’s body after regaining his senses. At trial, Roman confessed to the killing as well as the lie to police, stating he believed a robbery story was more believable than self-defense.

Roman was convicted of involuntary manslaughter as the judge felt there had been no premeditation in the attack, thus precluding a murder conviction. Roman, who had already spent 2.5 years in jail, was given a three-year probation term following his conviction.


Timothy Roman at trial

Sources:

  • Harris, Michael D. “Actress Susan Cabot’s son gets probation in her death.” UPI. November 29, 1989. Accessed: December 10, 2018. https://www.upi.com/Archives/1989/11/29/Actress-Susan-Cabots-son-gets-probation-in-her-death/5166628318800/
  • “Actress’ son convicted of her death.” The Vancouver Sun. October 11, 1989
  • Lerner, Patricia Klein. “Son Accused of Killing Actress Tells Court She Attacked Him.” The Los Angeles Times. October 6, 1989
  • Lozano, Carlos. “Defense Puzzles Prosecution.” The Los Angeles Times. May 17, 1989
  • “Actress Susan Cabot is slain; son arrested.” Star Tribune [Minneapolis, Minnesota]. December 12, 1986

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